Saturday, August 22, 2009

To bring you up to date...

Plans are underway for Brian's retirement. We've selected a date for the ceremony (Dec. 17), chosen a place for the dinner, and are working on choosing a caterer. He is looking for a post-retirement position near Huntsville, AL so that we can move close to my sister and her family. There is MUCH excitement from my kids at the prospect of living near their Aunt Pam, Uncle Kirk, and their 4 boys. (Never mind that these boys are already adults (ages 23-28)... thankfully there is enough kid left in them that they make great company for my gang.) Brian has had a lot of email and phone communication with one hospital and is headed back there in a couple of weeks for an on-site interview. We are trusting God that it will happen if it is meant to be.

I realize I didn't post anything while we were at Saddleback last week. Honestly, it was just too busy. Our nights all lasted until 9 or so... even the one early night we went out to dinner with our gang so wound up not getting back to the RV until after 9. All we were ready to do was hug on the kids a bit and then head to bed.

Anyhow, it was a great time. Rick Warren spoke at the opening session... I have never sat and listened to someone for an hour and a half when it didn't feel like at least that long or longer before. He had some really cool stuff to share. You can see it here. It's the webcast from August 12, 2009, titled "The Jesus Model for Healing - 2." There is also a link at the top of that page that will allow you to download a .pdf file of the notes from the sermon.

One of the coolest parts of the conference was meeting other folks. This is made really easy by the fact that not only were people wearing name tags with the name of their church and city on them, but an overwhelming portion also had shirts with that info as well. I bumped into one woman from the Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Nashville and made a point of asking her if she knew a couple there who used to attend the church I grew up in. (I had heard through their son that they were in Nashville and attended there.) She did, and then in the course of the conversation mentioned she had moved there from Dexter, MO.... this couple were the first people she had met in Nashville who knew where that was (because it was maybe 30 miles from us!). Well.... my niece is married to a guy who grew up in that church, and his folks are the caretakers of the church youth camp... and connection after connection was made. She knew his folks, knew my brother and his wife (on the camp board)... Small world, huh? All this in a crowd of 3500 people. I also bumped into a couple of guys from Tulsa, OK... they know a worship leader there in Tulsa that I know because I went to church with his mom and sister back in Omaha. And one of them grew up a half hour away from me as well.... and his sister goes to church with my niece. The world is shrinking a little more...

But the best is yet to come. I should point out that one of the neat things the conference organizers did was to put a colored dot on everyone's name tag; this dot identified the attendee as being from a particular region. We had a green dot as part of the Western region. I had been on the lookout for red dots (Southeast region, of which AL is a part). For most of the conference, all the red dots I had seen had been FL, NC, GA... but not AL. On the very last evening on our dinner break, I happened to notice a woman talking on her cell phone... I saw the red dot and inconspicuously got close enough to see her location: Huntsville, AL. So I struck up a conversation with her after she hung up. Turns out she and her husband had met Brian the night before at another workshop, so she already kinda knew about me. But here is the wow thing: they want to start a CR ministry at their church some time next year... probably *in the first quarter*. Hmmm. We will probably be moving there by the first of the year. Other cool things... their 2 youngest kids are the same ages and sex as Halle and Joel, and they homeschool. I kinda felt like meeting them and getting their contact info was a little present from God, and another indication that he approves of our desire to be in Huntsville.

So today I am checking my Facebook page and noticed a post from Keith Lancaster that referred to a blog post about a cappella music. I checked out the blog and felt an almost instant kinship with the author. I left her a comment, she responded to me in an email, and after a few more emails between us, here is what we know: She lives in the Huntsville area. She homeschools. She knows my sister and brother-in-law because they used to attend church together. And of course, we already knew we were both into music. We are totally convinced this is a God thing. Just one more thing to help me feel like we are walking in God's will for our future.

Is it any wonder I can't keep from grinning ear-to-ear tonight? Do any of you have similar stories to share? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

6 days on the road

Today is Day 6 of our summer adventure on wheels. Not much of an adventure, really. Mostly me and the kids and dogs sitting around the KOA. But it's still been fun. We left home last Wednesday and drove to Bakersfield. The excitement started almost as soon as we arrived. While Brian and the boys went in the RV resort office to register us, Halle and I took the dogs out for a potty break and the RV door locked behind us. Here we are in 97-degree temps, no shade except what little the RV provided, the RV was running (and thankfully the generator too)... After about 20 minutes of trying all the windows, Brian was finally able to get the front passenger window unlocked and open from the outside and we hoisted Joel through. Lesson learned. Don't leave the RV unmanned without a set of keys in hand.

Thursday morning, we took our time getting stuff together before heading on down to San Diego. We made it here a little after 3pm. The KOA here is very big and was very busy when we arrived. It has since cleared out a little.... but not much. The kids have enjoyed swimming a few times. The dogs are happy that there is an off-leash area here for them to go in. My only complaint about it is that it is nothing but mulch, which gets up in my shoes and clings to Campbell's fur. I'd much prefer grass.

On Saturday, we went downtown with Brian after his meeting was over and spent a little bit of time touring the USS Midway. The boys were really interested. My favorite thing (don't know if Brian got a picture or not) was the giant statue nearby that recreated the famous LIFE magazine picture of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square when V-J Day was announced. Here's a photo I found online of it. It is HUGE.

The boys and Brian went to the Padres/Mets game later that evening (actually, we had just enough time after our Midway tour for them to drop Halle and me off at the RV and rush back downtown to meet some of Brian's CRNA friends for the game). Halle and I spent the rest of the evening kicking back with the dogs, watching TV and/or playing games on the laptop.

Tomorrow morning, Brian has one last meeting until 10:30 or so. Then we'll gather things together and make the drive up to Newport Beach. We'll be staying here while we attend the annual Celebrate Recovery Summit at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. Newport Beach was as close to Saddleback as we could find an RV park.... about 30 minutes away. Emily is flying down tomorrow evening and will be here to keep the kids company while we're away. Just 4 nights there and we head back home on Saturday.

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